The idea that Hughes could bond with Arabs around common humanity — "we all love children" — is deeply patronizing, infantalizing, and condescending. It also flies in the face of all available survey and focus group data, which overwhelmingly shows appreciation for American society and Americans as individuals, but hostility to American foreign policy.What neither Aardvark nor Kevin talk much about is the fact that the rather style the Arab world reacted so badly to is merely a modified version of what the Bush administration foists daily upon the American people.
The rest of the world is not regularly subjected to the rhetoric and propaganda of the Bush administration and thus, unsurprisingly, reacted negatively.
Much of the the Bush-led Republican agenda has been papered over in "down-home" rhetoric and simplistic appeals to faith and family. The rhetoric itself is not unusual, but the fact that it conceals the actual policy so well is revolutionary. The administration has been able to redirect and deflect much of the attention and criticism as a result.
Supporters of Bush's plan aren't ignorant of the game plan, but they let the administration keep up the facade because, in general, it is in their interest. Those who oppose the administrations policies, however, have to hack through an incredibly densely-layered propaganda campaign. The administration has also had the good fortune of a press that tends to give deferential treatment to those in power; until they stumble enough to give them a good story (President Clinton's history of sexual peccadilloes ensured a continuing narrative for the press to write easy-sell news).
The main controversy regarding the Bush administration at home, as it is in the middle-east, is their flawed policies. With few exceptions, no one hates Bush or his people on spec, their policies, however, do infuriate.
Now that the administration's self-centered policy objective has pushed their base off the edge, the "aw-shucks, git 'er done" Bush style has worn thin, even for his supporters.
Many are now seeing the administration in the light his non-supporters, both domestic and international, have seen him since day one. It is not the enemies of the U.S. who hold many of these views, but those who support and care for the U.S. and its people. The enemies want to destroy the U.S., its supporters criticize because they want to see it do better.